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  • Writer's pictureAayush Sharma

SOLO NORTH-EAST INDIA

Updated: May 24, 2023

Solo traveling was never on my list because I’m that guy who prefers group traveling. But also I never had a problem traveling solo, it’s just that I enjoy the company of my friends. I did ask a few of my friends but due to time issues they couldn’t manage and therefore I went alone. I was a bit nervous as it was my first solo and that too in the north-east, quite far from Delhi. Shillong and Cherrapunji were my targets. I booked a flight from Delhi to Shillong which had a layover in Kolkata. And it was a mistake because if you want to go to Shillong, Guwahati airport is the right choice. Shillong airport is outside the city and the cabs are really expensive. From Guhawati you can rent a two-wheeler (from a solo point of view) and enjoy the beautiful journey from Guwahati to Shillong. My hostel was in Laitumkhrah, Isabella Hostel. On my way to Laitumkhrah from the airport, I made my cab to a halt near Umiam Lake. Clicked some pictures of the lake and then back in the car. Isabella Hostel was close to the main market area and it was a perfect place to stay for a backpacker. In Shillong, there were no rickshaws or autos to commute, only cabs were there and they were expensive. So I thought why not explore this place on foot? The best thing about a solo trip is that you can make decisions completely according to you. Exploring on foot, walking in the streets, witnessing the local life, and observing their livelihood. I was very satisfied with my decision. I visited the Don Bosco Museum, the largest cultural museum in Asia. There was a cafe named “Three Little Birds”. It was so small and cute, the food was delicious, and had an on-point service, a must-visit cafe.



I made a friend back in the hostel, his name was Dhilip Kumar and he was from Tamil Nadu. Solo traveling helps you to meet new people from different places. Coincidentally, my and Dhilip’s itinerary was similar for the next 3 days. He had a two-wheeler with him which he rented from Guhawati. So we decided to travel together for a couple of days. The first place we went to was the Elephant Falls. It was a multi-tiered waterfall and to reach the waterfall there was an easy trail of a few stairs. The moment we left the elephant falls, it started to rain. In Meghalaya the rain is very unpredictable, at one point it will be sunny and all of a sudden then rain will starts. That is why one must carry an umbrella or a poncho. Next, we went to the Shillong viewpoint. We passed through the air force headquarters to reach the viewpoint. The guards asked for our IDs before allowing us to enter. This point offers an enchanting 360-degree view of the entire Shillong city. There was a tower in which a telescope was installed for the tourists to see the view precisely. After lunch, we headed towards our last stop “Laitlum Grand Canyon” in Smit village. The view of the grand canyon I witnessed was magnificent. I could see the panoramic view of the entire Grand Canyon. For a moment I was paused, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Afterward, we clicked a lot of pictures and finally called the day off. We had dinner in the main market and then back to our hostel. We had to leave for Cherrapunji the next morning.



The next morning, I and Dhilip started our journey to Cherrapunji. It was a journey of around 60kms which took us almost 3 hours because we had 2-3 pitstops. The road trip from Shillong to Cherrapunji was so damn beautiful. The whole journey was full of scenic beauties & waterfalls, road conditions were perfect and also we encountered heavy rain while we were on our two-wheeler. It was a hell of a ride. The first pitstop was for breakfast and the second was “Tyngam Masi View Point”. From this point, we saw some breathtaking views and clicked a lot of pictures. Some stairs lead you to the top from where you can see a clear view of fully green valleys. After spending 20-25 minutes here we continued our journey.



Next, on our way to Cherrapunji, we came by “Wah-Kaba Falls”. A beautiful waterfall and for its view, we had to descend a few stairs. There is a local legend that two fairies live at the falls.



We were moving at a constant speed when all of a sudden heavy rain started and we had to stop under a shed because the raindrops were hindering our vision, specially Dhilip’s as he was driving.



We were just on the outskirts of Cherrapunji when we came across one more fantastic viewpoint known as “Madan Shad Seng Khasi Sohra View Point”. There were so many clouds and behind those clouds, we could see Latara Falls.



Finally, we reached the rainiest place on the earth – Cherrapunji. Only after reaching, we search for a homestay/hotel type of place and finally found one. After settling down, we continued our exploration. First, we went to the Eco Park. It is on the hilltop and it is surrounded by mountains. This park is well-maintained and beautifully organized.



Google map showing that we have reached seven sister's waterfalls but we were still inside the eco-park and we were so confused why is it happening, is google broken? We decided to have lunch and then search for the seven sister's waterfalls. After lunch, we started asking others to guide us and when we reached the spot from where we could see the seven sisters waterfalls, we realized that the eco-park is situated on top of the waterfalls. We were standing and roaming in the eco-park which was on top of the waterfalls the whole time. The view of the “Seven Sisters Waterfalls” was mind-blowing. Seven streams of water ran down from such a great height, it was at that moment that I felt that my trip is now successful.



From seven sister's waterfalls, we headed towards the “Mawsmai Caves”. Only I entered the caves, Dhilip was fine outside. The path inside the cave was quite narrow, it was my first-time experience of a proper cave. The caves were made up of limestone and it had an uneven footing. I saw a path going down into the darkness and there was a notice board that stated that you need proper gears to enter. It was for professionals. I came out from the caves in around 20 minutes.



The next spot where we went to was the “Dainthlen Waterfalls”. It was also a famous spot for a picnic. A huge waterfall in a serene landscape. The name is derived from a Thlen or a snake of gigantic size which used to live in the cave. Legend has it that to get rid of its terror, people destroyed the snake.



Since morning we were traveling and also due to heavy rain in midst of our journey we both were quite exhausted. So we decided to visit one last point and then head towards our stay. The last point was NohKaLikai Falls. This waterfall is the tallest(1115 ft.) plunge waterfall in India. It was massive and so beautiful and also I could hear the noise of the falling water from far away. Just imagine the force by which the water must be falling.



The most famous spot for which Cherrapunji is known as “Double Decker Living Root Bridge”. To reach the bridge one has to trek down to a certain height and it is not that tough but while coming back you have to trek up and that is what takes time. So I recommend sparing at least 4 hours for this bridge so you can get enough time to go down, click pictures, bathe in the waterfall, and then trek up. We left our stay early morning around 7. The start of the trek was from Tyrna village and to reach Tyrna village, the route Google showed us was so green it felt like we were driving through a dense rainforest.



One thing I have to mention is that one has to carry lots of water because in such areas you don’t feel thirsty but your body needs water as you will be walking constantly. The first spot we came across was “Living Root Bridge”. The bridge is made by the process of tree shaping the living plant roots. Magnificent work of nature it was ❤


Next to the living root bridge, we started walking toward the double-decker root bridge. On the way, we found another guy from Delhi(Charanjeet) who was a bit lost. So he joined us and then we went to the double-decker root bridge together. For me, the most emblematic thing I saw on this whole trip was the double-decker living root bridge. This iconic bridge is made of 2 tree-root entanglements. It was so amazing, just in front of the bridge, there was a small waterfall where I and Charanjeet jumped in. It was a heavenly feeling. After clicking a lot of pictures we started to track back.



I had my flight back to Delhi the next day so I had to reach Shillong by night and therefore I left Cherrapunji in the evening in a shared cab. The driver took 100 rupees for one side journey. I bided my farewell to Dhilip who continued his trip to Mawlynnong(The cleanest village in India). I so wanted to go there but unfortunately, I had my return journey already booked. I reached Laitumkhrah around 7-8 pm, had dinner, and stayed in the same hostel for the last night. Early morning I left for the airport. I had a layover in Kolkata for 5 hours. So I thought why not take an exit from the airport and go somewhere near the airport only? Also, I had never been to Kolkata and it was a perfect chance. That’s what I did, I came out of the airport and I had enough time to go to 2 nearby places which I searched on Google on the spot. One was the Wax Museum and the other was the biggest urban park in India “Eco Park”.



A solo trip improves your decision-making, boosts your confidence, helps you to make new connections, and leads to self-focusing. One must go on a solo trip at least once in a lifetime.

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